"The question in the minds of most people is 'What's going on in the marketplace? Is the whole system broke, is it corrupt, or is it both?' I'm not sure anybody can answer that question completely, much less simply. One thing I think is true is that we didn't go to bed three years ago with a marketplace in corporate America that was transparent, well-run and ethical and perfectly fine and then wake up the next morning with a system that was broken and corrupt and flawed and populated by greedy people. These problems really evolved over a period of time. It's important to remember the people and conduct we are no seeing roundly condemned were not a few years ago seen as intrinsically bad and some of the behavior wasn't viewed as inappropriate, much less criminal."
"The system we invest in, which was and remains the envy of the world, is an honor system. Our capital markets work because the basic theory of full disclosure by public companies of material information and financial statements provide an efficient market, the capacity to price and value the worth of the enterprise and allow us all to participate in the system by buying shares of public companies. We don't have government audits of public companies. We have a system that relies on a rule of law, standards, some liability in terms of private and class-action litigation in the event somebody breaks the rules. Reality, obviously on some level did not match the theory or we wouldn't be where we are today in terms of the succession of scandals."
"The sentiment that largely pervaded our markets was one that a free market works best when it works free. As the climate for entrepreneurs got better and the idea of a free market was more in vogue somewhere along the line the balance got somewhat out of equilibrium. The rules began to be perceived in corporate America as unnecessary impediments to entrepreneurs expanding the economy and doing good and doing well in the process for themselves. The accounting principles gave way to creativity, and creativity gave way to aggressiveness. Somewhere in the mix, aggressiveness began to cross the line into transactions and financial statements that in some respects defied common sense and now, in hindsight are being viewed as illegal and in many cases criminal."
"The overriding factor in these cases is that there's been a remarkable amount of greed. People who have made stunning amounts of money seemed to have reached for more. That's something a psychiatrist would have to dissect, but I will tell you most of these people did not look in the mirror and see themselves as greedy or bad. They saw themselves as creative, bright, innovative and at some point in time as entitled. That segued into allowing some of the conduct that is giving us now such problems."
"I happen to think profits are pretty important. That's the underpinning of the whole system. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing well but doing it the right way."